Kristoffersen topples Hirscher to win GS gold at ski worlds
24-year-old Norwegian had finished 4th in his last 3 races at world championships
Henrik Kristoffersen finally won a medal at the skiing world championships — and much to his own surprise it was gold.
The Norwegian produced a brilliant second run under the lights to topple first-leg leader Alexis Pinturault and favourite Marcel Hirscher and win the giant slalom by 0.20 seconds on Friday in Are, Sweden.
Hirscher took silver and Pinturault earned bronze, 0.42 seconds behind Kristoffersen, who crouched on one knee and clenched his fist in front of the jubilant Norwegian fans after his victory was confirmed.
Trevor Philp was the top Canadian and finished 18th, while fellow Canadian Simon Fournier was 30th.
Kristoffersen had finished fourth in his last three races at the world championships — the giant slalom and slalom in 2017 and the slalom in 2015.
"It was about time to get a medal," said the 24-year-old Kristoffersen. "It's amazing. I don't know what to say."
Kristoffersen's last win in giant slalom came at Meribel in 2016 and he has been consistently behind Hirscher, the seven-time overall World Cup winner and defending Olympic and world GS champion.
"There's no one that skis on salt as much as Norwegians do," he said. "Even though I haven't trained on salt in GS in a long, long time, I have it from childhood."
Hirscher's preparations for the race were affected by a bout of flu that kept him in bed for much of the past two days.
He was 0.08 seconds ahead of Kristoffersen after an error-free first run, but went wide at two gates in the top section of his second run and lost 0.41 seconds in the middle section.
"Second place is the first loser but Henrik had an amazing day with two great runs," Hirscher said. "Henrik is at the top for such a long time. He was more than ready for a world title."
Of his health, Hirscher said: "I feel happy because at this time yesterday I felt really bad."
For Pinturault, it was his second medal of the championships after winning the Alpine combined on Monday.